Tidal HifI SQ question

Apologies if I am smacking a hornet’s nest on this but…

I’m in the process of moving to a primarily network based digital front end. I have a bunch of “hi-res” files and CD’s ripped to a NAS and that I am running through a inexpensive Yamaha CD/Network player and NAD 1050 DAC. I wanted to see if Tidal Hifi was also to my taste but haven’t gone with a full on server (such as ROON on SMC sonic transporter) so I just set up my macbook with Tidal and ran the USB into the NAD 1050. I’m in the process of moving to DS DAC jr/Bridge II solution though but…

**The Question (finally): Tidal Hifi doesn’t sound particularly good to me in this configuration. Poor bass resolution and very veiled/laid back compared to other sources. What are other’s experience with Tidal. Is this just something that I need to accept or is it likely an artifact of my very poorly tuned test up for the service?

I use both Tidal Hi-Fi and Qobuz Hi-Res. I find the two to be very similar in quality, both quite good in my system. I have a DS Sr. w/ Bridge II, streaming with ConversDigtial Control app.

Based on your setup, I have to believe the diminished SQ is a result of your setup, rather than the service.

1 Like

Are you running the Tidal desktop app and have exclusive mode active?

I am just using the Tidal desktop and not I have not set up the exclusive mode. The goal, initially, was to see if the music and depth of artists on Tidal appealed to me so I wasn’t focussed on a decent setup yet.

Part of the issue is I’m trying to decide what the “best” network digital set up is going to be for me and if I want to go for a full ROON set up. I don’t have a ROON endpoint renderer like the microRendu and the value of Tidal (ultimately) will depend on the SQ I can squeeze of it which, in turn, generates value questions about setting up a full bore network system and appropriate C&C software.

Without exclusive mode in the Tidal app it is not going to sound good.

Also Tidal via Roon or Audirvana sound quite a bit better with Integer modes enabled.

I used a Macbook pro 2018 and Tidal via USB before I received the DSJR. Now I am using a cat7 from router to DSJR. This sounds great to me (starting after 4 days burn in of the DSJR). Granted I did not do a test with my old DAC using Cat7 from router so I can’t give a definitive answer.

hope this helps a tiny but.


1 Like


Thanks. I should be able to test myself soon enough. I just dropped the hammer on a DSJR and a pair of the M700s. I’m already set up with CAT 7 cables in my network and a decent UPnP Synology NAS set up. I won’t be able to really judge any individual effects because I’m likely to swap everything in at once along with new balanced connections and network buffering.

I am not clear on why you wouldn’t set up Tidal correctly. I use a laptop running W10 using Tidal’s desktop player with an Audioquest Jitterbug and Carbon USB cable, and SQ depending on the file can be excellent.
Set it up correctly use Master if your DAC can do 24/96, and in setup choose your DAC, click on icon that shows up to the right. Set for Exclusive, Forced Volume, and MQA leave unchecked until you get your new DAC.
Tidal has been working on their player, with many updates. I could play you files that you would not be sure of source. It can be that good. As someone else said, it is your setup that is wrong. Or maybe your DAC’s USB input is poorly implemented.

The short reason is time and lack of knowledge. Prior to your explanation I had not spent enough time with the Tidal interface to even figure out how to set it up. Thats’ why I asked here hoping to get a sense from people with better experience.

By the way I blame you for the fact that I was late to work this morning because I went through and “fixed” my interface and then couldn’t tear myself away from listening :smile:


Does it sound any better or different?


Significantly better. The best quick description would be that before tweaking the settings, Tidal HifI sounded like barely adequate FM radio on a mid 70’s receiver. With the correct settings and properly set up Tidal AP it was in the range of the rest of the high quality sources in my system.
Part of the problem, in terms of comparisons, is that I haven’t been listening for SQ. I’ve been listening for new music. In the two weeks that I’ve had Tidal set up I don’ think I’ve listened to a single piece of music that I have a SQ reference (records, downloads, or ripped Cds) for because its all been music that I don’t own. For example I spent most of the weekend listening to live Leonard Cohen recordings on Tidal but I own almost no Cohen music (for no good reasons).

I’ve be in a mode that I assumed the weakness I was hearing was either 1) poor initial recoding quality, or 2)part of the streaming experience. I am clearly wrong on both counts. Luckily the gentle guidance that I’ve received here helped.

1 Like

Glad you got it sorted. I find Tidal via Roon to be nearly as good as local FLAC rips and certainly good enough for non-critical listening. Try radioparadise.com for full 320Kbps streaming, free.

What software are you using for your downloads ?

Currently I’ve ripped CD’s using Exact Audi Copy to low compression FLAC (not quite the question but partially relevant. I have all the music on a Synology NAS running the Synology server apps. I was rendering and doing D/A conversion with a Yamaha CD n500 network player (UPnP) and using the Yamaha control software to control the system. I grabbed a NAD 1050 at Christmas I’ve been using that as a DAC since.

All of this (coupled with Tidal) was mostly a test run to see how I felt about a network front end. Historically I’ve been more of a vinyl person. I probably have 10,000 plus records (mainly 50’s, 60s, and 70’ Jazz) and a couple 1000 CDs of various types. I made the move to the network front end for the simplicity of storage but even with the Yamaha I’ve been impressed and pleased with the quality so I pretty quickly decided that it was worth moving to a more solid front end. Thus the DSD Jr. that I ordered yesterday and my attempts to actually get serious about set up and quality. Tidal is the icing on the cake because I already have more music on physical media that I have time to listen to.

Sorry for the long answer but…

I will be happy to write you an excuse.
Not knowing your taste in music, I will try to mix it up. Here are a few things to check out on Tidal.
Excellent recordings 16/44
Richard Thompson “Acoustic Classics”
Ben Webster “Gentle Ben”
Jeff Beck “Performing This Week Live At Ronnie Scott’s”
Bob Weir “Blue Mountain”
Morphine “At Your Service” [just very good, content is excellent]
MQA files that are excellent
Eric Bibb “Migration Blues”
Fleetwood Mac “Future Games”
It is mostly impossible to compare CDs or even 16/44 to MQA files as we seldom know their origin. I have found all of the above to sound really good. After writing this I saw your post mentioning jazz. There are some good choices under Charles Mingus and Coleman Hawkins.


Luckily for me I am university teacher and was late to my class so I’m the one looking for notes not the other way around :wink:

Thanks for the list. I imagine my taste isn’t to far from yours

I’v already listened to the RT album and agree but I also thought his post Linda albums like Hand of Kindness sounded awesome as well

I’ll listen to the Ben Webster. I have an original pressing of that so it will be interesting to compare to tidal

As far a Blue Mountain goes I’m more a Jerry side kind of guy but I have compared the 77 Barton Hall shows on Tidal to my HiRez download and was pleased-I’ve also been enjoying the extended full Europe 72 shows but I have been meaning to give Blue Mountain a careful listen

A couple back to you if you haven’t listen are the two Live Leonard Cohen Albums: Live in Dublin and Live in London

And I’ve been impressed with a number of the mid 60’s Blue Note albums that I’ve heard. To my ears they capture the RVG magic

Thanks for the help and the feedback, by next week or so I should be enjoying all of this on my new DSD jr and M700 's

Be sure to give them all a good run-in before judgement, especially the M700s. I found the Jr. opened up in ~100 hours, but the amps took a good while longer. Just leave them powered on and enjoy.

1 Like

I saw the Leonard Cohen “Live In London” on PBS many years ago, immediately bought the CD and a copy of the DVD for a friend’s Christmas present. My favorite song is “The Future”. And I got to see him live in about 2012.
I too was a big fan of JGB, I think it is #8, the show in Milwaukee. I was there, excellent version of “That Lucky Old Sun”.
My favorite Ben Webster has a been Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson". Recently Acoustic Sounds started selling reel to reel tapes. One of the first four was “Gentle Ben”, which I had not heard. I can see why they picked it. Great sound and content. By the way, the reels sell for $450 a copy.
You are right, we do have similar tastes.

It is my understanding that the USB cable must be kept to a minimum. I like to have access to my computer while listening to music. I only have one computer. This is why I do not use USB. I don’t know the reasons for others’.


Try Northern Texas Wind Symphony “Passions”